Using PowerPoint for Storytime

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  • I am a Youth Services Specialist in a public library and I am trying to find better ways of delivering a storytime. In the past I have used an elmo projector which projects the book onto the wall, but because we do not have that technology here I am trying to come up with new ideas.

    I would like to make a PowerPoint movie of the book by either taking pictures of each page or scanning each page. I do not plan to record any audio, it would just be a way for all of the children to easily see the pictures. I just want to make sure this is fair use. Thoughts?
  • Hi Caitem,

    Just to clarify, the provisions for using Elmo to project images during storytime rely on § 109 · Limitations on exclusive rights:
    Effect of transfer of particular copy or phonorecord, as follows:

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(5), the owner of a particular copy lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to display that copy publicly, either directly or by the projection of no more than one image at a time, to viewers present at the place where the copy is located.

    The Elmo technology is simply projecting the image, one at a time, from the pages of the book, an allowable use under Section 109.

    As you suggested in your posting, the choice of an alternate technological approach -- scanning images from the book -- takes the scenario out of Section 109, and drops you on the doorstep of Section 107, Fair Use.

    Could the scenario you describe constitute Fair Use? Applying the four factor analysis, one might consider that:

    Factor 1, Nature and purpose of your use is educational and socially beneficial, weighing in favor of fair use. Scanning the pages in and being able to increase their size for non-readers or new readers to engage their interest seems like a good reason to take this approach.

    Factor 2, Nature of the copyrighted work, is children's stories, which are typically quite creative with artistic, original illustrations. This factor could weigh against Fair Use.

    Factor 3, Amount of material used seems to be 100% -- the entire book -- so that factor would also tend to weigh against Fair Use

    Factor 4, Market effect, would depend on the specific book and whether the publisher or author provides a way to license or purchase a digital copy for computer projection purposes.

    Copyright law requires that we weigh all four factors in our evaluation. It does not, unfortunately, tell us what to do when some factors are pro and others are con! That is the point where your own institution's policies and risk tolerance come into play. Some institutions might feel that the strength of the first factor is sufficient for a finding of Fair Use. Others with lower risk tolerance might insist that permissinos be secured from the publisher or copyright owner.

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